Children returning to SWFL summer camps in greater numbers than 2020

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Today, parents can register their kids for summer camp with the lee county parks and recreation. Summer camp is starting in just a few weeks, and while many skipped camp back in 2020, kids are ready to go back this year with safety precautions in place .

Camps like Lee County Parks and Rec, the YMCA and the Imaginarium say they will continue social distancing and will have masks optional. They’re going to continue limiting groups of campers for every counselor, which means they need more space and more staff.

“Last year we were limited to just our space at the YMCA, this year we’re lucky to partner with the school district and will be running camp at five different schools throughout Lee County as well as as our local YMCA,” said Joey Bellanger, executive director of YMCA Lee County. “So we’ll be able to accept more children based on the staffing ratios.”

One exciting difference for a lot of camps this year is field trips. Last year, because of the pandemic, the kids that did enroll in camp essentially played games at the facility but couldn’t explore. We talked with one parent who didn’t put her child in camp last year because of all the unknowns, but this year she’s ready.

“You could tell from him being at home with just his little brother and his parents all day, it was weighing very heavy on him, and so that’s why we decided now that was more important,” said mother Melissa Poland. “I didn’t at first, because it was so unknown. Now that we know and understand a little bit more, I know that it’s worse to keep him home. He needs to be out and about with his friends and speaking and learning new things.”

The YMCA told WINK News it’s seeing higher registration than last year. About 300 kids have signed up for camp so far, and the YMCA is hoping to accept more.

“We’re seeing parents bring kids back, or even kids that weren’t here before, because they’ve been isolated for so long,” Bellanger said. “Parents wanna get the kids involved in those activities, to kind of get them active again.”

In addition to those camps linked above, several Florida Gulf Coast University Athletics programs will be hosting summer camps once again this summer and are currently taking registrations. Each camp will follow CDC and campus COVID-19 guidelines to continue keeping participants safe while also being able to enjoy taking part in these great summer activities.

The one modification to this summer compared to normal years is that each program will only offer a day camp option.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.